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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5809
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I have been friends with a man for 15 years. Intuitively, we

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I have been friends with a man for 15 years. Intuitively, we always knew the spark was there but married other people and had children (he got his girlfiend pregnant and married her). I have known he was unhappy and of their incompatibility all these years, and tried to encourage him positive ways to turn it around. I am now divorced (2 yrs) and a year ago, he told me how he truly fealt about me and always has- though I tried so hard to resist, I gave in- the relationship has progressed for the last year- he is never with her i dont even think they like each other- but he loves his kids and is scared of the furture with/for them - I know this is not healthy for me and I have to move on- I cannot imagine him out of my life completely we are such close friends as well- He is my happy place amids
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your problem.

From what you said, it sounds as if you and this man have had feelings for each other for a number of years and although you can now acknowledge your feelings and act on them, he cannot due to still being in a relationship that includes children.

You have a few choices here. You can continue the relationship as it is. This will give you a chance to be with him, however, you will always be on the fringes of his life and be second to his family.

Two, you can stop the relationship and end all contact. This would be the hardest choice, but it would also give you the chance to move on and heal.

Three, you can talk with him about getting a divorce and being with you. However, it sounds as if this is not a choice he is willing to entertain since he has children involved. But it would bring the issue out into the open and the two of you can discuss if it is a possibility. However, beware if he continues to put you off or says he will discuss it at sometime in the future. This is usually a sign that he does not want to divorce now, or maybe ever.

The main problem here is that you are not benefiting from a real relationship with him. He is dividing his time between you and his family, giving him the security of keeping his family intact, yet he can also keep his relationship with you. He is essentially getting the best of both worlds and you are not benefiting at all. It is up to you to decide if this is enough for you.

It would benefit you to seek out counseling with this issue. Not only can a counselor help you with your decision, but you can get the support you will need no matter what you decide.

There is a book I'd like to recommend for you as well. It's called "Will He Really Leave Her For Me?: Understanding Your Situation, Making Decisions for Your Happiness" by Rona Subotnik. You can find it on or your local library may have a copy for you.

I hope this answer has helped you,


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you I agree with all of that, and know what I need to do, it didnt allow room for my full question- I need to know how to have the confidence to do it? I love him so much and do not want him to go through what I did with the divorce, but know it isnt enough for me- I dont want to go out with anyone else and feel guilty if I do is another problem. It is so conflicting and such a double edge sword. I respect how he wants his children to grow up but at the same time think they should have two happy parents. I am not ok in my life with myself right now and dont know if losing him now is the best timing. Then again, the affair could be contributing to my outside problems as well. I am very sure he loves me and is trying to do the responsible, logical thing over the emotional thing. I need to let go and dont know how to be that strong after all I have already been through.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

I completely understand what you are saying. You are conflicted and hurting. Although you do not feel it right now, confidence will come in time. To get there, however, you will need ongoing support throughout your decision making process.

You do already know this, but you will need to make a decision because the emotional and personal cost to you is so great. In truth, you will never be sure of your standing with him and you will always be second to his family if things remain as they are. I highly recommend that you find a good counselor who can support you through the inevitable grief process of ending this relationship if you choose to go in that direction.

The counselor can also help you develop the confidence that you need to make your decision and to follow through and minimize regrets. They will also help you find the strength that you need to act. Remember, this will take some time, and you shouldn't expect that you will feel confident until you fully process this very complex problem.

I also recommend that you follow through with purchasing the book I suggested as it will give you further ideas as to how to go about making this choice.

Seek out the support of any family or friends that can help you throughout this process. Be kind and patient with yourself. Remember, this is difficult for anyone and you are not weak, just dealing with a complex and overwhelming issue.

With support and encouragement you will make the right choice... seek the guidance that you will find in a face to face counseling situation. It will help you find the strength you need. Kate

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